Leeds United are missing their “Jack Grealish” in star man Kalvin Phillips against Southampton tonight and it will leave a big gap, according to Alan Hutton.
The former Villa and Scotland star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the pair of England internationals are absolutely pivotal in their respective roles and suggested it would be nearly impossible for either side to replace them.
As confirmed by Marcelo Bielsa at his pre-match press conference, the 25-year-old will miss out against the Saints as he continues to recover from a calf injury picked up against Crystal Palace earlier this month.
💬 “The club and the players make a big effort to help the team” Read more from Marcelo's press conference ahead of tomorrow's clash
— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 22, 2021
Bielsa will also be without Rodrigo Moreno, Robin Koch, Gaetano Berardi or Ian Poveda, although Diego Llorente may step back into the starting XI after watching on from the bench against Wolves.
Asked about Leeds being without their star man once again, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “You can liken that to obviously the Jack (Grealish) situation at Villa – when you miss your top players in a key position, it’s going to be difficult to replace, it’s as simple as that.
“He sits in front of that back four, he shields them but not only that, his range of passing is excellent, he can start attacks, he’s got a great switch of play and he plays their week in, week out because he’s very good at that.
“So when he’s missing, to bring somebody else in to try and do it, it’s not always the same.
“It is a problem that Bielsa has got, he’s tried different people there and it’s not quite worked out. Just like Villa with Grealish, they’ll be desperate to get Phillips back.”
Jamie Shackleton filled in for Phillips during the 1-0 defeat against Wolves over the weekend, with Mateusz Klich pushed back into a deeper midfield role.